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Don't put out the Spirit's fire - 8 June 03 PM_1

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The story is recorded in 1 Samuel chapters 10, 13 and 15


There will always remain something mysterious and tragic about Saul.  He represents what one writer calls the diagnosis of failure.

It began so promisingly:

6 The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.       10 v 6

But it ended so sadly:

1 Samuel 15 24 - 29

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord ’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.”

26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”

27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbours—to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.”

and the conclusion of the matter is clearly stated in Chapter 16 v 14:

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul,


In between these two statements lies the story of his fall – a tragic tale of impatience, presumption and frank disobedience.

I get the distinct impression of a man who will always remain:


How as it that Saul put out the Spirit’s flame?

1.     By taking into his own hands the role was that not his to perform


Whilst it was in the mind of God to combine such ministries in the Messiah – and to anticipate these in the reigns of His greatest king – it was NOT RIGHT FOR SAUL

Mixed in with the impatience that Samuel was so late coming to the battlefield was a view of himself that assumed he knew best.

That is one major way to put out the Spirit’s fire.

2.     By assuming that he had the authority and power to do so


When we read the story we have some sympathy for him. Human nature being what it is we feel Samuel was unreasonable – was it such a big thing?

Yes – it was.

God takes a serious view of presumption.

Yet this was not the major sin in Saul:

3.     In Chapter 15 – by adapting the clear Word of God’s Instruction


He reserved some of the best booty from the Amalekite conflict

even though his instructions were very clear – they were ALL to be destroyed.

And he saved the Amalekite king AGAG.

In any secular context such conduct would seem right – but Saul was never intended to be just a secular ruler – he was SUBJECT TO GOD

The verdict of God is clear:

In spite of Saul’s claim to have done what God told him (I believe he really did think he knew best!)

13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord ’s instructions.”

14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”

15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”

16 “Stop!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”

“Tell me,” Saul replied.

17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.’ 19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord? ”

20 “But I did obey the Lord, ” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

22 But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices

as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?

To obey is better than sacrifice,

and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Here was the evidence of compromise   v14

The heart of the issue  v26

You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”


So Chapter 16:14

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul,

SAUL – the DISAPPOINTMENT – presumed to know better – and reinterpreted the clear instruction of God.

He truly put out the Spirit’s fire.

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